The Mindsets and Habits of Elite Special Forces
Having had the pleasure of coaching a number of elite special forces in both Europe and the United States in the past year we have noted that there are specific mindsets and practices that allow them to perform consistently in high pressure environments.
These elements are fundamental when it comes to High Performance and the ultimate strategies for navigating intense, complex and hostile situations.
1. Have a game plan.
Special Forces only spend about a quarter of their time deployed. All of the other time is spent preparing for missions.
The people who overcome great obstacles are the ones who are the most ready and knowledgeable, so prepare as much as possible to give yourself the edge you need to push through adversity.
2. See setbacks as learning experiences.
No one becomes an expert by focusing only on their strengths. Instead, reflect on your weaknesses, why something went wrong, and how you can improve to shift your attention towards learning and progress.
In critical combat it's often about acknowledging your weaknesses with radical transparency and working intensely to develop these into critical strengths.
3. Approach problems with confidence, but be realistic.
Being confident you have what it takes to solve complex problems goes a long way. However, overconfidence leads to recklessness and mistakes. Believe in yourself but also be practical about the situation and always have a plan B.
4. Create a cooperative environment.
Another simple yet critical element of Elite Special Forces was the importance of giving help; the more they helped their teammates, the more help they received in return. This fosters trust, meaning, and helps everyone achieve their goals faster.
Create an accepting atmosphere and reward cooperation to encourage teamwork.
5. Celebrate small victories.
Keeping your focus on the end goal is always good, but don’t forget to acknowledge the minor wins along the way.
Celebrating small victories will balance out the hard moments and - remind you and your team of how well you are progressing. This is critically important during challenging periods of time.
6. Don’t forget to laugh.
Having a sense of humor is an incredibly powerful way of managing fear and stress. Despite being in life or death situations with critical tasks and missions, these Elite Special Forces always found a way to integrate humor. Even more so, when the challenge increased!
Find a way to laugh at least once a day and remember that whatever you’re facing has been faced and overcome before.
7. Treat it like a game.
Lastly, one thing these Elite Special Forces did when facing a challenge was to always approach it like a game. This will make it appear less serious and allow you to have more fun when tackling problems head-on.
View challenges like games and rather than threats. This helps you to make decisions with more objective clarity.
While having grit is key to pushing through your hardest moments, it also doesn’t mean you have to be 100% serious all of the time. Be tough, but don’t forget to help out your coworkers, laugh, and appreciate the small wins along the way!